To be alone is to be different, to be different is to be alone.
- Suzanne Gordon
My heart broke at 8am this morning. Again.
There she stood, my oldest child, on the playground. I had dropped her off just a few minutes prior, and as I made my way out of the school grounds, I went by the playground again, and watched her.
Standing there. No other child within 50 feet of her. All alone.
And I cried all the way to work, wondering why it has to be this way.
I realize that there is no one on this earth that loves her and cares for her more than my wife and I. But does anyone else really care at all?
Sometimes I think people look at her as a number. First she was 1 in 500. Then 1 in 250. Then 1 in 166. Then 1 in 150. And now she's 1 in 91.
She's high functioning, so some groups that should be helping her ignore her - I guess she's just not autistic enough for them.
And sometimes I think certain people believe she is just a process they have to follow, a Federal Law with which they have to comply.
It's hard for her, and frustrating for her. Autism makes social interactions a challenge, but that doesn't mean she doesn't want to interact socially. And even when she says she wants to be alone, I really wonder if that's what she really means, or if that is how she thinks it has to be, because that is the way it's been.
I don't want her to be alone. I don't want children to tell her to just "go away."
I don't want her to think it has to be this way, just because she has autism.
I believe in my daughter. I know she has hopes and dreams, and I know she can achieve them, autism be damned.
But I also know that it will only be through the perseverance of my wife and I, and our love and belief in our daughter, that this will be possible. That's why we continue to fight, and continue to advocate. And the road is full of bumps like this that need to be and will be overcome. And every time we make it over a bump, we get stronger, and the road gets smoother.
But sometimes, those bumps really hurt, enough to break your heart.
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